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Russia baits Nigeria with light, $14Bn for nuclear power project


Despite warnings that nuclear energy has no place in a safe, clean, sustainable future; lobbyists are pushing Nigeria to commit to building nuclear power plant.

The lobbyists claim that nuclear power plant can underpin the country’s poor public power supply and help her save some $14 billion annually.

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has however raised concerns that nuclear power plant is not good for the environment in Nigeria because of the radioactive waste and the cost, $20 billion, of the project.

In clear and simple terms, nuclear energy is both expensive and dangerous, and just because nuclear pollution is invisible doesn’t mean it’s clean.

But Viktor Polikarpov, regional vice-president, Central and Southern Africa of ROSATOM, said all of the concerns are driven by lack of information.

He said that when the nuclear plant would be operational, the country would save $14 billion in a year on off-grid diesel generation.

ROSATOM by the way is the Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation which had reportedly signed an agreement with Nigeria to build a nuclear energy plant.

ROSATOM is currently working with Nigeria on two planned projects, the Center for Nuclear Research and Technology for which an agreement on cooperation in construction was signed in 2016; and the Nuclear Power Plant project for which project development agreements on construction and operation were signed in October 2017.

Coming to the radioactive wastes he said, “Nuclear power is the only energy industry which takes full responsibility for all its wastes and builds this cost directly into the product. International co-operation and systems are also in place to effectively control and track the movement of many materials, including radioactive materials.”

Russia is not new to building Nuclear energy plants, Polikarpov noted that Russia started building nuclear plants 11 years ago, has launched a large-scale NPP construction program in the country and abroad that have finalised 13 units.

Nigeria, is infamous for unreliable public supply and it is a country where everybody generates own power supply.

According to estimations, Nigeria spends $14 billion annually on off-grid diesel generation.


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